Thursday, November 22, 2012

How to know your child is an extrovert

We were doing the "go around the table and mention the things you're thankful for" tradition. It was McKay's turn:

McKay: I'm thankful for my work.

Margaret: Because all your friends are there?

McKay: And I'm thankful for church.

Margaret: Because your friends are there?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


So I haven't been posting any activist-y things lately. With Black Friday coming up, I figured I should.

First, there is the Black Friday Walmart Strike. I haven't shopped Walmart in years and boycotting is great, but the fact that the workers themselves are involved gives this strike extra power. Through the link, you can find your local Walmart strike and participate as a consumer supporting the workers, or if you're a worker, you can strike. Nat Kelly at fMh wrote up a great post, featuring Classwar Kitteh. The post is Mormon-centric, hence the suggestions to fast and pray.

Also related to Thanksgiving is this post on food workers. From farm workers to restaurant workers, the people who handle our food aren't treated well. I worked in a Mexican restaurant when I was in high school, and it's absolutely true (and ridiculous) that wait staff can legally receive only $2.something/hour. Here in California, I believe that the state minimum wage is higher, so it's not quite as bad. And being here in California, the plight of farm workers has been made a little more urgent to me. The few times I've driven up and down I-5 have caused me to think about all the farms I pass and the conditions the workers are out in. Do they have protection against the chemicals they use on our food? Do they get compensated fairly for being out in the heat of California summers and have access to water, food, shade?

Also in the news is the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has received money from Nestle, a major well-known violator of the WHO's own Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. There's a petition for this if you want to sign.

I also wanted to share the link to the Rolling Jubilee. Scroll down and read the whole page and explanation of the way they are trying to forgive the debt of regular people. I think it's a genius idea.

And not related to activism, I'm going to have a mother's blessing/blessingway this time! It's going to be on Dec. 1, so that it's thoroughly before the winter starts and I'm due for a baby. If you want to send a bead or affirmation, contact me through email or Twitter DM and I'll send you my address. I think I'm also going to do a belly cast this weekend before it gets too huge.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pregnancy Update

It's been a while since I've had a pregnancy update. I am seeing a midwife, but like I said in my last post, I'm not sure if I'll call her, or really when to call her. Also, I'm huge. In fact when I last saw the midwife when she looked at me she said, "Are you sure you have your dates right? Was your last period a normal period?" Then she measured me and yeah... my dates are spot on. I'm measuring only a week ahead, which is normal and does not mean I'm off by a month. It just means I look like I'm due tomorrow, but tomorrow is still the fall and not the winter, so nope.

Check me out on the bike:

As you see, my belly is bigger, as is my butt. I store my breastmilk there. McKay thinks it's so that I don't fall over forward with the weight of my belly. Have to balance that out!

And Sunday night was... fun, if you call Braxton Hicks fun. I had some swelling in the evenings this past weekend, due to the fact that I'm not good at staying hydrated when my schedule isn't my every day routine. Then Sunday night came and I had 4 hours of Braxton Hicks every 2-3 minutes: the kind where you have to reposition yourself and breathe through them. The kind that if I hadn't been pregnant before, I might wonder if I was going into pre-term labor. In fact, even the natural-birth-friendly birth course we're taking says that if you have contractions like that for longer an hour to call your midwife/doctor. But I wasn't. First, I had this with Isaac. Totally normal for me, especially if I have something over my abdomen like a tight waistband or seat belt. Second, I'm not in the "ok to have a baby" window yet and with my history of keeping babies in for ridiculous amounts of time, I pretty much doubt anything sooner than 41 weeks as being "real." In fact when I went into labor with Isaac, I didn't think it was "real" for a couple of hours. And he was 9 or 12 days past 40 weeks, depending on your favorite way to count gestation.

I share this because having strong BH contractions (does it count as prodromal labor?) is a variation of normal for me. It's not always a cause for concern. It can be, but it's not always. Sometimes your body just likes to be extra ready for birthing your baby. Maybe this means I'll have a fast labor this time. Isaac's was only 5.5 hours. Shall I aim for 3-4?

No strong BH since then, just the regular kind. Lots of walking a busing the past couple of days. Tomorrow is a big biking day for our errands. Exercise is happening, hydration is happening, gestation is happening.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another Homeschool Post

With the croup around Halloween and then the onset of the rainy season, we haven't been doing a lot of "homeschool." We've missed some park days from illness and our friends have, too. We had to cancel a field trip this week because everyone but us were sick (and actually... my kids probably weren't at their best). Margaret has gone to science class a couple of times, but it was cancelled once this month for Veteren's Day. Tomorrow is our last day of science class and they'll be doing rockets. The teacher said she'd like to do a couple of classes in December and a new semester in January, so maybe we're not totally done.

Science class chromatography. They also made litmus paper with filter paper and red cabbage and tested acids and bases.

Isaac "reading."

Margaret has been interested in drawing and instituted a "drawing contest" in which she draws on Isaac. She's our budding tattoo artist. There is a house on his left leg and the markings on his face were an attempt to make him look like Batman.

Because we've been inside a lot, I would say that our most recent homeschool "unit" has been conflict resolution. Lots of struggles over who gets what toy and things like that. But we're working on it.

And now onto another big busy week! You'd think the holiday would slow us down, but no. Here we go!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Carfree Update

We've been carfree for 4 months! I wish I had been keeping track of all the miles we've put in on the bike and the bus. Maybe I'll start up on January 1 and keep track for 2013.

Of course, that's if we're still carfree through 2013. McKay is concerned that with 3 kids, we won't be able to continue to go carfree. I think the biggest hurdle is actually the Zipcar. We need to use it at least once a week to go to church and buckling 3 carseats in and out of a car? Kind of a pain. And what if the Zipcars near us won't fit 3 carseats across?

On Tuesday we took 6 buses round trip to the park. The park was worth it and when I mentioned the bus situation on Twitter, some of the other bikers I follow suggested I get an e-assist.

The bikers really want to see us succeed in our carfree experiment. The overriding opinion was that if we upgrade, we'll like it enough to continue. Upgrading means tuning up the 24-speed and possibly buying a bucket bike and/or e-assist. Humofthecity, a San Francisco biker, wrote a post recently on the e-assists she's tried. Being in San Francisco, she understands hills- and maybe if we had an e-assist we could get rid of the Sunday Zipcar trip. We could just go on up the hills on our bikes! In our Sunday clothes! And be awesome!

But the thing... as of last week when McKay and I were discussing car possibilites, we agreed to try carfree as we have it through the winter. Yes, now would be the perfect time to buy a car when all the dealers are trying to get their 2012 models off the lots, but I'm pretty sure that the dealers will still be having their regular "let's have a sale because it's a holiday!" sales next year. President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day... And so our agreement was to try through the winter, see what it's like once we have 3 kids and I'm off my babymoon and then find the closest Monday holiday and buy a car then if it doesn't work.

But but but... Oh to upgrade! To a bucket bike! With Thanksgiving next week, there will be sales and I know which bikes I want to keep an eye on. I've even set up google alerts for craigslist in case someone wants to rid themselves of a cargo bike. It would be sweet to upgrade and see if the biking thing gets better and more manageable with 3 kids. It's manageable now, but we could make it a lot easier on ourselves.

The problem is all those upgrades (cargo bike, e-assists, etc) will probably cost us a couple to a few thousand dollars. Still cheaper than a car, but it would suck to buy all that and then find out it still doesn't work for us and have to buy a car on top of all that. On the other hand, the re-sale value of the bike and e-assists would probably be pretty good; we wouldn't be out all our money. And even used cars/minivans on Craigslist are going to be more than $3000, so we'd still be saving money. Oh, but we're supposed to be paying $5000 for this birth since I did hire a midwife (still not sure if I want her there, I'm rather split on the matter at the moment). And Christmas is coming up. And my birthday. And McKay's birthday. And this future baby will probably need a carseat and clothes and things.

So yeah... weighing the options. How sweet would it be to have a bucket bike?! And be able to bike to church?! We would only need the Zipcar on occasion instead of weekly. Now that would be living the dream.

If you want to follow my Carfree Pinterest board with bike ideas and child-arrangement ideas, it's here.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Nesting the Office

I'm not much in to nesting. I'd rather nap. As an attempt to make this nesting thing happen, I'm going to start by showing you the worst room in the house and maybe it'll get better because I have the Internet to be accountable to.

Here's a sad glimpse of our "office," which is a glorified hallway between our kitchen and bedroom. It's our catch-all room and has everything from our files (birth certificates, taxes, bills, genealogy, etc) to my yarn and crafts to a dead computer to our car seats that we need when we use Zipcars. I really need to do something about this space. Hire a professional organizer? Stalk Craigslist for Ikea shelves? Turn this into the kids' room?

Click for larger pictures.

Right to the left of this picture is the doorway to our bedroom. Besides the broken computer, the bulky desk is really unwieldy. We have no use for a desk at all, it just sits there unused, but it goes with some of the bedroom furniture so I can't get rid of it, as per McKay's request. But really, who uses desks these days? Especially large and heavy wooden ones? We use our dining room table for all our desk-like needs and have laptops. Also, check out the box of frames we haven't hung yet. One of the biggest obstacles in our house is that we have plaster walls. It's difficult to hang anything on them unless you plan on making a hole the size of Alaska. So there they sit.

Next up is where the technology meets my craft stuff. The empty crates were for organizing, but we ran into space issues. If the cedar chest and junk drawers didn't take up so much floor room, it'd be a lot easier to use those. Also, I need to go through the junk drawers. I did an experiment this year where everything in those drawers were in the bottom drawer and as we used them, we returned them to the top drawer. It's been about 10 months since we started that, so I'm sure it's safe to toss everything in the bottom drawer.

UFOs are unfinished objects. You can also call them PhD projects (Partially half-done) if you want to sound fancy. FOs are finished objects. The finished objects will be sent to a craft fair to be raffled off. Procedes will go to one of the Berkeley women's shelters. That happens in December. Also, check out the random mega bag of yarn. I really need to organize it all.

A little over to the right, you see one crate of crafts, a sewing machine, a knitting machine, and some other miscellaneous stuff. What you will notice about this and the previous picture is that everything is on the floor. We need shelving that utilizes the entire wall. Because it's all on the floor, it tends to sprawl.

On the opposite wall. This is why I'd like to have a garage or shed: carseats and strollers. The small stroller is out of this shot, but to the right, behind the white board. Can't hang the white board because of plaster walls. The bag we need to toss is leftover cobweb from Halloween that was given to us. Underneath it is a dehumidifier we bought for our previous apartment (mold issues). We don't use it anymore because our landlords don't like that it hurts their electric bill. So it sits and sits, but it does work. Oh, and the diaper station does have a shelf of yarn. Because I can't have space in the house without yarn.

The wall by the kitchen, where you can get a peek at the water heater in the kitchen. Our only use of vertical space. We also have the table leaves over by the boxes to use for shipping. Again, if we had a garage or shed or any kind of storage space, we could keep those sorts of things hidden. And yes, our file system is small. That's because I hate file cabinets and you aren't going to get me to ever use one, ok? They are ugly and clanky and take up way more space than they need to.

Inside the wardrobe, we do not find Narnia. Just stuff. Fabric, blocking supplies, knitting supplies, general crafts.

So you've seen the worst of it all. Once we get this under control, we can cruise for the rest of the house. But really, how am I going to do this without being able to make holes in the wall or find a storage place for things like car seats and strollers?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Inquisition Monday: Baby Prep

Betttina asked, "Inq Mon: how will your life change with 3 kids? How are you preparing DS?"
To the first question, I have no idea. We'll probably have to get another carseat and maybe a car. Maybe. I want to see if we can swing carfree for a little while longer.

I probably won't be as rested as I was after having Isaac. Margaret was still taking naps when he was born, so I often got a little bit of afternoon to myself. Unfortunately, while Isaac still needs a nap, he rarely gets one. Sometimes we are at parks in the afternoon, but most often I spend an hour nursing or lying down with Isaac and almost get him to sleep until... Margaret comes into the room wondering what's taking so long and then Isaac is up and naptime is over. So probably less rest and time to myself. I'm not really looking forward to that.

Other than that I think life will be as normal: taking kids to parks and classes, knitting, podcasting, blogging. I plan on getting serious about starting my own business once the baby is past the baby stage, but that will be a while.

As for preparing Isaac, I've mentioned previously we are watching birth videos. I think we'll also get him a baby doll for Christmas. Margaret has one, but they tend to fight over it. We have childcare lined up for if I go into labor during the day. I'm not sure what else to do to get him ready. For sleeping arrangements, we have a toddler bed and he's actually been sleeping in that a lot of the nights. He still nurses once or twice a day and seems pretty attached to it. I don't think he'll wean before the baby comes, but if he does, I'm ok with that. We'll find out.

So that's it for now! I'm attempting to "nest" this pregnancy and I'll post about that later this week.

Friday, November 02, 2012

End of October in Review

Things have been busy here. I haven't been "homeschooling" like I was in September, and I'm ok with that. I find that I prefer not doing all that much. I think that if we continue with the homeschool route, it'll consist mostly of us choosing classes for the kids (or them choosing them for themselves) and customizing their education. There are some great science and math and computer science options (even AP classes for homeschoolers) where we live. And literary studies for elementary school-aged homeschool kids, even!

The kids playing with each other

Margaret is still loving her science class, but I have no pictures. Last week it was cancelled due to rain and this week Isaac had croup (fever, runny nose, barky cough), so I dropped her off, but stayed away with Isaac, so I didn't get any pictures of the science in action. Margaret did learn about acids and bases, though, and mixed red cabbage juice with different acids and bases to see the colors change. Yay first grade science class!

Isaac hugging a tree while Margaret was at science

The big thing has been Halloween. Isaac missed the church trunk-or-treat because of his croup, but still went out on Halloween night. I caught Isaac's cold, so when McKay took the kids to trick-or-treat at Pixar yesterday, I sat home and watched Buffy. McKay got a really good picture of the kids, but it's on his phone and not mine, sorry!
Halloween day fashion

Halloween night fashion: mermaid and pumpkin

So a rainy and sick two weeks. Maybe things will look up soon. I'm hoping so, but Margaret's voice has started going in and out... I hope she doesn't end up with our cold. 

Snot-faced Isaac.

We still went to the library this week because I had a book on hold come in. And we saw Wreck-it Ralph. So for being sick, unmovable blobs, we did pretty good. I just wish I could stop coughing and subsequently peeing myself. Being sick and pregnant sucks.